chevron icon chevron icon

Managing exam jitters and performance anxiety: Strategies for student success

Managing exam jitters and performance anxiety: Strategies for student success

As students roll into the exam season, they often find themselves grappling with a familiar foe - exam jitters and performance anxiety. The anticipation of tests, coupled with the pressure to perform well, can lead to a surge of nervousness that can hinder their ability to demonstrate their true capabilities. However, by adopting effective strategies, students can learn to manage these feelings and channel their energy toward good grades and beyond.

1. Preparation is key

One of the most powerful ways to combat exam jitters is with thorough preparation. When students feel confident in their understanding of the material, they are more likely to face the exam with a sense of control. Establishing a study routine that starts well in advance of the exam date allows for ample time to review and internalise the content. Breaking down the study material into manageable chunks and setting realistic goals can make the process less overwhelming. Moreover, practising past exam papers can provide valuable insight into the types of questions that might be asked and help simulate the exam environment. Geniebook also has Mock Exams coming up in the upcoming September holidays to help your child gauge their learning progress!

2. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into one's daily routine can significantly alleviate exam-related stress. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help students manage their anxiety levels. Deep breathing exercises, for example, activate the body's relaxation response, leading to a reduced heart rate and a sense of calmness. Regular practice of these techniques can equip students with the tools to calm their minds both before and during their exams!

3. Believe in yourself

The way your child talks to themselves internally can greatly influence their emotional state. Negative self-talk, often characterised by statements such as ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I'm going to fail’ can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Encouraging positive self-talk can counteract this negativity and boost confidence! Replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations such as ‘I am prepared!’ and ‘I can do this!’ can foster a healthier and more constructive mindset. Over time, this shift in self-dialogue can have a profound impact on reducing exam jitters and even in other aspects of your child’s life.

4. Healthy lifestyle choices

Physical well-being has a direct correlation with mental well-being. Prioritising a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep can bolster your child’s ability to manage stress. Regular physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, while a healthy diet and proper sleep promote cognitive function and emotional stability. Avoiding excessive caffeine and sugar intake, particularly close to exam times, can help regulate energy levels and prevent unnecessary spikes in anxiety.

5. Time management

Effective time management is a crucial skill for students to develop, not only for academic success but also for reducing performance anxiety. Creating a study schedule that allocates time for breaks and leisure activities can prevent burnout and overwhelming stress. Knowing when and how to take breaks is essential for maintaining focus and preventing mental fatigue. By organising their time effectively, students can build a sense of control over their workload, thereby reducing feelings of anxiety.

6. Visualising success

Visualisation is a powerful mental technique that can help students overcome performance anxiety. Encouraging students to imagine themselves walking into the exam hall, feeling confident and in control, can have a positive impact on their actual performance. Visualisation not only calms nerves but also primes the brain for success. By repeatedly visualising success, students can rewire their minds to associate exams with positive outcomes, thereby reducing the grip of anxiety.

In a nutshell

It's important for students to remember that they are not alone in their struggles with exam jitters and performance anxiety. Seeking support from teachers, friends, and family can provide valuable perspectives and coping strategies. Encouraging your child to talk openly about their fears and concerns can be incredibly liberating for them, and may lead to discovering new strategies for managing their own anxiety!

Book a free product demo
Suitable for primary & secondary
select dropdown icon
Our Education Consultants will get in touch with you to offer your child a complimentary Strength Analysis.
Book a free product demo
Suitable for primary & secondary